Daily Inspiration: To Complain or Not To Complain

This poem was performed by Rudy Francisco at the semi finals of the 2014 National Poetry Slam. He describes situations where people persevered through life and death situations and essentially said, “It could have been worse”. Life is journey where one can experience a lot of pain and heartache. However, many beautiful things also come out of this journey and he explains that sometimes it is best to focus on what keeps life worth living.

**Disclaimer: This poem has been criticized for being insensitive to those suffering from depression and anxiety. Its purpose is to provide motivation to help others keep things in perspective during tough times.

If you are suffering from Mental Illness and need help, you are not alone. Please seek the advisement of a medical professional or call the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Helpline today, 800-950-NAMI to see what resources are available to you.

Childhood Cancer: More Than 4

A cancer diagnosis can send anyone reeling with panic. Families are sent into a tailspin, awaiting the prognosis. A significant portion of cancer research focuses on the treatment of adults, yielding amazing results. However, the same advances for children have been stonewalled.

The federal governments allots a certain amount of money to cancer research each year.  The National Cancer Institute  is the government’s primary agency in all things cancer related. The NCI’s budget for 2017 hovers just over $5.3 Billion; this figure seems promising.

The Truth 365, a documentary and social media campaign that strives to raise visibility to the issue of childhood cancer, highlights the motivation for their work.

Cancer kills more than 2,500 children in our country every year. Over 13,500 kids will be diagnosed with cancer in the next 365 days. Though these numbers are significant, the potential market is too small to attract the attention of private industry. This makes the role of the taxpayer-funded National Cancer Institute (NCI) especially critical yet approximately 4% percent of its annual budget is dedicated to childhood cancer.

Just 4% of research funds are dedicated to saving the lives of thousands of children. These inadequate funds are the roadblocks resulting in antiquated treatments and painful deaths. That should hardly be a reality, with the incredible medical technology available today.

Several organizations and social media pages have done their due diligence to raise awareness for childhood cancer and help families in need. Popular organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House exist primarily to help the families of sick children get care. The Instagram page, Childhood Cancer Warriors,  puts a spotlight on specific cases and helps raise money. While efforts are made daily, childhood cancer is sadly, not a national concern.

Cancer in any capacity is devastating, it is especially so in children. The campaign to raise the percentage of federal dollars for research has already begun. Private organizations and fundraisers are leading the charge for families that are looking for answers for their child’s condition.  With the help of the public, the hope is to make the life of a child worth #morethan4.


Dealing With It: Trauma

Trauma is a surreal aspect of life that comes in varying degrees. The average person should expect to experience at least one thing that leaves a permanent scar. Radical events such as death, abuse or neglect can change a persons perception of reality.

Surviving the tragedy is a journey within itself. Confusion, resentment, stress and hopelessness are a few emotions that plague the mind and body in the time afterward. The incident must be handled ‘properly’ and within a reasonable amount of time because resurfacing at another point in life is imminent. Post-traumatic stress disorder is the most immediate response to an event and it varies in severity and the length of time it is experienced. Repression and suppression are also common ways to deal with trauma.

Eventually these defense mechanisms fail. When your feelings begin to have a direct impact on your life it is time to put it behind you. Here are some things to keep in mind when beginning your journey:

1.Know That You Are Not Alone

It is easy to believe that you are the only person dealing with this type of situation. That is 100% never the case. There is someone, somewhere who can relate to your issues and has felt the same feelings you have, even in the same order. Go online or get a self help book pertaining to your issue and see what is out there. Do not isolate yourself.

2. Be Honest About Your Feelings

Identifying exactly how you feel is how you start the healing process. Whether you are angry, sad, horrified or completely avoiding the situation; it is important to be able to feel it. Talking about these feelings is the easiest way to figure this out. Finding a trustworthy person to talk to  is essential. This may include a professional or someone in your life that you know will listen without judging.

3. Accept What Has Happened

Denial is dangerous. After being honest about your feelings, acceptance is key. It is almost instinctual to want to protect ourselves from things that are painful. Starting the journey to  finding out why it happened or letting your mind begin to process the events is progressive no matter how painful.

4. Confrontation

Treading carefully with this step is very important. For some, sealing the deal with closure means confronting the person or thing responsible for their pain. If you are going with the confrontation route, know that it will most likely blow the trauma wide open (so be prepared). It is important to remember that the person themselves probably will not provide closure for the event; the confrontation itself can provide closure.

5. Making What You Have Work For You

Depending on the circumstances for your event this may be the beginning to the last step. Some may be able to do all of the above and move on, others are not so lucky. If you are unable to get closure from another person or thing surrounding the event or are still having trouble coping- seek further measures. These are precisely what support groups, counseling and forums are for. Keep working at it and take your time. Leave your heart and mind open to finding new avenues that work for you.

The end goal when dealing with any trauma is to find peace within. It requires a great deal of patience and being honest with yourself and others around you. Allowing yourself to fall into a pit of despair is tolerable but only for a certain amount of time. Get control. It is possible to move forward and to live a fruitful life. When you are armed with the tools to combat these events, progress is undeniable. Trauma does not have to turn your life into a battlefield and it definitely does not have define you.




Mental Health: Defined

Mental health  is considered to be a conscious awareness of your emotions. The term “mentally healthy” is one only of emotion. It cannot be confused with being physically healthy, which is the obvious physical state of your body. How you handle the stress in your life and your general outlook would describe the state of your mind. If you dissect what a single emotion actually is, you can see that our mind is very creative. We have developed and learned these emotions in order to survive everyday life. Without them, it is suggested that we could easily have monotone behavior. The regulation of these particular emotions either tells us we are normal, abnormal, or in desperate need of help. How can you determine that state of your feelings?
The ultimate test would be in that of a stressful situation, but what about how you handle your daily life. One could argue that a person who is always pessimistic is not a cornerstone of being mentally healthy. The same could also be argued for someone who is always optimistic. It depends purely on the scope of your beliefs. What is the goal? If it is to live a happy and fulfilling life, then being overly optimistic would surpass the goal. If your goal is to just get through menial existence, then being a pessimist may not look to be so unappealing.
Based on society we can assume that good mental health correlates with optimal functioning and assumption of routine without heavy interruption, while enjoying it, of course. Society tells us that we must enjoy life either in company or material possessions. You are usually supposed to do this with a fixed artificial smile on your face; in that lies implications that you are in good health.
Defining mental health constitutes winning the battle within yourself. Humans are often plagued by the inability to accept or confront reality. If the mind is always is in doubt with heart and conscience it is impossible to identify yourself as an individual and harvest the tools for sustainability. The key lies within each of us and our specific views of reality.